Mobile Madness Mega-Post: The Full Details on Xconomy’s Can’t-Miss March 9 Mobile Technology Forum

Xconomy’s next big event, Mobile Madness: The New Future of Computing, is coming up fast—it’s on March 9 at Microsoft’s New England R&D Center in Cambridge.

Once again, the tech community has come out in force to support our event, and I have an amazing lineup of speakers to tell you about, as well as some new and unique segments like the “Mobile Smackdown.” More on all that in a moment.

At a high level, the point of this Xconomy forum is to explore the new reality that mobile technology is one of the central arenas, if not the central arena, for innovation in both consumer and business computing. More and more of the applications and services that companies want to offer to consumers and enterprises must be accessible from both mobile and desktop platforms. Meanwhile, mobile-only software and content is an exploding business all on its own. All of that creates enormous opportunities for innovation and entrepreneurship. Attendees will hear about the biggest opportunities and pitfalls in the mobile business as perceived by leaders from a range of successful local companies.

mobile_month_button150x150The Mobile Madness forum is one of the highlights of Mass Mobile Month, a celebration of mobile innovation throughout New England in March 2010. We encourage you to investigate and attend the many of the Boston-area mobile technology events listed at And if you’re a mobile industry insider or fan and you’re planning to attend Mobile Madness or any of the month’s other events, we’d love to get your help promoting the initiative through social media; the Twitter hash tag for Mobile Madness is #xmobmad and the tag for Mass Mobile Month is #massmobmonth.

Who else will be at Mobile Madness? As always, our audience will consist of a rich mix of entrepreneurs, executives, developers, investors, and service providers from around New England. The last time we held a mobile event in the Microsoft space, in April 2009, we had a standing-room-only crowd of 225. We expect to sell out again this year, so register now.

We’re packing incredible variety into this five-hour event. Headlining the afternoon are six keynote speakers from leading global, national, and regional organizations. (The full agenda is online here.) First off we’ve got Jhonatan Rotberg, executive director of the MIT-based Next Billion Network, who will talk about the role mobile technology can play in solving social and economic challenges in the developing world. Then Kate Imbach, a key organizer at Mobile Monday Boston and vice president of marketing from Boston’s Skyhook Wireless, will walk us through the latest facts and figures on venture investment in the mobile technology sphere in New England.

Later in the program we’ll have a sequence of three more keynote talks from major companies active in the mobile industry. First, we’re delighted to welcome Anthony Kinney, a Windows Phone evangelist at Microsoft, who will talk about Microsoft’s plans for the Windows Phone 7 operating system. We’re also honored to have a team joining us from Cisco Systems, which recently acquired local wireless infrastructure networking company Starent Networks; we’ll be hearing about the company’s plans in the mobile business from Paul Bosco, Cisco’s vice president of video and broadband, and J. Andrew Capener, the company’s director of service provider marketing for mobility, who joined Cisco via the Starent acquisition. Finally, we’re excited that Steve Chambers will be joining us from Nuance, where he’s president of the mobile and enterprise division; Chambers will talk about the growing importance of voice interfaces for consumer and business applications on mobile devices.

In between the two sets of keynote talks, I’ll be moderating a panel discussion with an impressive group of local mobile executives, including Wendy Caswell, CEO at mobile imaging company Zink; Walt Doyle, CEO of location-based-services startup uLocate; Steve Krom, the vice president and general manager of the New England region for AT&T; Greg Raiz, CEO of Brookline, MA-based mobile app development house Raizlabs; and Dan Olschwang, the CEO of Jumptap, a local powerhouse in the area of mobile advertising and marketing.

We designed the panel to hit on most of the important themes and questions defining the direction of mobile innovation today, across the areas of mobile infrastructure, hardware, content and services, application development, and monetization. What strategies are wireless operators pursuing to ensure that growing demand for content and services served over wireless broadband can be met? What do consumers and business people most want to do with their mobile devices? How are built-in device capabilities such as location awareness being exploited, and what possibilities have yet to be explored? How much as the advent of app stores for third-party changed the ecosystem for mobile application development, and is app development a cottage industry or a scalable business? Can mobile advertising be a viable stream support for mobile content publishers? I’ll be putting all those questions and more to our distinguished panel.

But wait, there’s more. In keeping with the “Mobile Madness” theme, allow us to present the Mobile Smackdown—a no-holds-barred opportunity for proponents of Android, iPhone, Windows Mobile, and BlackBerry to vie for (or at least convince the audience of) their platform’s supremacy. Battling on behalf of the Android operating system will be Carter Jernigan of two forty four a.m. (the originators of the Locale app) and Henry Cipolla of Localytics. Representing the iPhone operating system will be West Decker from Apperian and Craig Spitzkoff from Raizlabs. In the Windows Mobile corner will be Zach Hofer-Shall, an analyst at Forrester Research. And representing BlackBerry we have William Sulinski, CEO of Portland, ME-based mCaddie, the creators of the AccelGolf app. Mark Lowenstein, managing director at Mobile Ecosystem, will be our referee.

To cap off the event, we’re going to bring you a special Mobile Showcase featuring 10 mobile startups—mostly from the Boston area, but with a couple of special guests from Canada and the UK. Our showcase presenters will give one-minute lightning presentations, and then the whole audience will adjourn to the lobby area at Microsoft, where representatives of the showcase companies will be available for one-on-one conversation around tables supplied with a variety of demos and handouts. Those presenters include Apperian, Appswell, bitHeads (from Ottawa, Ontario), Illume Software, the Public Radio Exchange, Roam Data, Rummble (from the United Kingdom), Sand9, SparkCloud, and WherePhone.

In conjunction with Mobile Madness, we’re also going to be publishing an online mobile showcase including all of the presenters from the March 9 event and more. If you’d like your local mobile company to be included in the online showcase, just send me an e-mail at I need the following materials no later than next Friday, March 4, 2010: 1) a 1-paragraph description of your company; 2) a JPG or PNG version of your company’s logo; 3) up to three graphics or screen shots illustrating your company’s products or services; and 4) (optional) an embeddable video (YouTube, Vimeo, etc) describing your products or services.

Whew. If we can actually fit all that content into one afternoon, I’ll be quite happy. I hope you can join us!

Wade Roush is the producer and host of the podcast Soonish and a contributing editor at Xconomy. Follow @soonishpodcast

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